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Obesity and Weight Management

What Do You Think of HAES?

08/31/2005

Question:

HAES = Health At Every Size. I have been reading more and more about this point of view, namely that people of all weights and sizes should concentrate on excellent nutrition and exercise, and if you do that (all the time, regularly) it doesn`t really matter whether you lose weight, you get all the health benefits with or without losing weight. I was wondering what you thought of this idea?

Answer:

Yes, there can be good health at every size. Healthy people can be tall or short, stocky or lanky, muscular or not. If you have good eating habits and are physically active, you will be healthier at whatever your body size and shape, as compared to someone who is less physically active and eating poorer. And the heavier person may actually be healthier than the thinner person who is not eating right and not physically active. However, healthy, much heavier people are rare.

You can judge your health by monitoring your 'numbers' (blood cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, fasting blood sugar levels) and keep them within a healthy range, instead of watching the scales. Large athletes, such as football players, can be healthy at their larger size as long as they maintain their physical activity and their muscle mass. Though they are large they have a low level of body fat. So the level of body fat is the key, along with where that body fat is located. Normal weight people who have a high level of body fat and store it in their abdominal area (apple shape) are not as healthy as a normal weight person who has an acceptable level of body fat and stores it in the hips and thighs (pear shape). However, both shapes can be healthy if you are maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

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Response by:

Sharron   Coplin, MS, RD, LD Sharron Coplin, MS, RD, LD
Former Lecturer
Food & Nutrition
College of Education and Human Ecology
The Ohio State University